Adding AI to your small business tech stack can seem like a daunting task. Part of the problem lies in the way AI is perceived. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that AI is too complicated to be of any use to a small business. But if you take a deeper look, you will find that there are many ways small businesses can benefit from AI.
In the last few years, many commercial AI applications have been released. This has driven costs down, giving small businesses the opportunity to start using AI tech. While adoption rates have been on the rise, many small businesses are still reluctant to jump on the AI bandwagon.
If you’re still on the fence regarding AI, you’ve come to the right place. In order to help you understand how your business can benefit from AI, we did some research on the latest trends in AI usage. And here are the results.
1. Empowered Data Analysis
AI is already an indispensable tool for large businesses that have access to vast quantities of user data. However, the data-harnessing power of AI can also help small businesses extract meaningful information from smaller data sets. In effect, AI allows small businesses to leverage advanced data mining methodologies such as statistical regression analysis, without needing to hire a data scientist. With such AI-powered tools at their disposal, small businesses now have an easier time learning about their existing customers, as well as discover new ones. AI is what made data mining possible in the first place, so it makes sense that AI algorithms are uniquely well suited to solve these kinds of problems.
2. Smart Recruiting
Small businesses are frequently at a disadvantage when it comes to recruiting talent. Big companies can leverage brand recognition, sprawling contact networks, and an abundance of resources to attract top industry experts. Additionally, large corporate enterprises have dedicated HR departments tasked with handling everything from finding the right candidates, to screening the most promising ones, to onboarding new recruits. The only way small businesses can compete is with the help of AI. AI recruiting tools can find out what the preferred way of communication for each recruit is. It can also discover new leads, as well as notify recruiters about the candidate’s work history and job-fit. And the best part is that the whole process can be scaled up as your company develops.
3. Workflow Automation
Some industry analysts are arguing that AI will eventually make work as such obsolete. We are not there yet, but already we’re seeing AI performing tasks which used to be reserved for humans, such as accounting, scheduling, or reporting. These tasks are often boring and repetitive, so passing them off to an AI is better for everyone involved. Because small businesses are frequently short on staff, they are the ones that will benefit most from this type of AI. Most employees will welcome the opportunity to leave boring tasks to AI, so they can focus on more creative, meaningful work. And if you’re a future-minded person, having an AI partner at work is sure to keep you motivated.
4. Automated Customer Service
Customer service is often a sore spot for small businesses. It takes a lot of manpower and resources to address the needs of each individual customer. And if you fail to provide a level of service that the customers expect, they will flock to your competitors instead. This is why more and more businesses are starting to adopt chatbots for customer service. Chatbots and other types of AI-mediated communication systems can provide many benefits to a small business. An AI-powered chatbot can offer assistance to customers as soon as they reach your website, social media profile, or instant messaging channel. They can provide answers to common questions, as well as provide information on many topics. But the greatest benefit that chatbots offer is their price. Running a whole customer service operation for free is hard to pass up.
5. AI-Driven Marketing
From marketing workflow automation to data preparation and analysis, AI is changing the face of digital marketing. For a while now, companies such as Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify have been using AI for ad placement, product recommendations, fraud detection, A/B testing, and more. And thanks to modern AI-powered marketing solutions, these features are now also available to small and mid-sized businesses. By harnessing the power of AI for marketing, small companies can now reach out to a global audience. You can pinpoint individuals that are on the lookout for your products, and then serve them ads, content, or product recommendations. And you can do all of this without a marketing department – all you need is an AI-based marketing platform.
AI and the Future of Small Business
From data analysis to customer service, from recruiting to marketing, AI is changing the way companies do business. AI is giving small businesses the tools they need to compete with companies twice their size. By using an AI, a small business can rework its entire operation to be more efficient, profitable, and stable. If you haven’t been using AI so far, now is the perfect time to try.
Michael Deane is one of the editors of Qeedle, a small business magazine. When not blogging (or working), he can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham.